One of the most important parts of your natural hair routine - whether conditioning, detangling, styling, twisting, or whatever - is sectioning your hair. You should not do anything to your hair without first parting it into sections, whether you are conditioning, detangling, or styling. Some naturals part their hair into four sections. Some six. Parting is an art, and really depends on your preference.
Sectioning Natural Hair
When you have a TWA (teeny weeny afro) it is so easy to jump into the shower, condition, rub some moisturizer or gel through, and go! This is a true "wash & go"!
But as your natural hair grows longer, you will begin to notice the importance, the necessity, of sectioning. Sectioning can help with denser hair textures that are often located in the back of the head for many naturals, and allow for product concentration in those harder-to-reach places.
If you ever go to get your hair washed, styled, cut, or colored in a salon, you should notice that any hairstylist worth their weight in gel (lol!) will section their client's hair. They take the time to divide natural hair into sections so that they can work in a neat and controlled manner. Its all a part of the process and makes application time shorter, more efficient, and is typically less wasteful because they are able to apply equal amounts of product to each section ensuring that each section is equally and thoroughly saturated.
How should you section your hair?
The disclaimer is that you should section your natural hair in a way that makes it easier for you to work with it.
Most naturals section their hair into four parts - two in the front and two in the back. This natural has very thick hair, so she divides her hair into smaller, more manageable sections. This natural keeps her styles neat and they last longer, and products are last longer, as well.
Her hair is divided into approximately 12-15 sections, which may seem like a lot, but she is able to work quickly and efficiently through her thick hair when it is in many sections. Wash & go styles are more defined, and twists and twist outs are neater and last longer. Most importantly, detangling is a breeze and there is less loss and breakage of hair.
Here are some tips to sectioning your natural hair:
- Make sure parts are equal, with workable sections of hair.
- Twist or clip each section so that they don't mix. Work with one section at time, and then clip or clamp it out of the way when you are done. This will keep the sections from tangling into each other and will help you keep track of completed sections.
- Start from the bottom up - back to front. This also ensures that sections of hair don't get tangled with other sections. You will use less product on the very back sections, and they will take less time; plus when you're finished, you can gently lay that section of hair down, allowing the sections to set without interrupting the curl pattern.
- Be patient. Treat each section the same way that you did the section before. When you first begin styling, you will start quick and with purpose; and then for most naturals, by the time you have come to the middle top of your head, your arms are tired and you're ready to just be done - sometimes you may get a bit rushed and sloppy with product application. By using sections, you will find that even towards the top of your head, once you finish a section and take down a new section to start, you will feel like you're beginning fresh, which will make you continue applying the product with purpose.
- Don't change the routine mid-head. If you work efficiently, almost robotically, making sure that you repeat the same routine for one section exactly as I did the one before, you will have similar results throughout your head.
- Section your hair exactly as you plan to wear it. In other words, make sure your part is where you want it (side, center, off-center, none), your natural hair lays how you want it to lay, and the sections mirror the style you wish to achieve.
So whether detangling, co-washing or shampooing, deep conditioning, or styling, try sectioning your hair and see how much easier it'll make your natural life!
Look for more natural hair tips and tricks! Want to read about Fern's personal natural hair experiences? She writes about her own experiences on her blog - check her bio for more information.